There’s no denying smart speakers, voice-search and AI devices are trending products to watch for in 2018. In the digital marketing world, these devices will drastically shape the future of SEO and other digital strategies.

While we are hard at work analyzing how these products will affect the tech industry, we’re also having fun using this new technology.

What We Love About Smart Speakers & Virtual Assistance

As tech users and shoppers, especially during the holiday season, these voice-activated devices are the hottest gifts of the year. But it isn’t just techies who are coveting artificial intelligence-enabled speakers. Smart speakers are in no way your typical audio device. Instead, they offer virtual home and even office assistance. These gadgets can help you with everything from setting a kitchen timer to playing your favorite music or even turning off your bedroom light. Everyone can use the device in a way that best fits their lifestyle.

With so many to choose from it may be hard to decide which one makes the best gift. To help, we broke it down based on price and listed all the notable features to help make your choice easier.

Price Range: $50 or less

1. Amazon Echo Dot

The Echo Dot, a big hit this year, is a smaller and cheaper version of its big brother, the Amazon Echo. Don’t let the Dot’s size fool you, though. The Echo Dot still has all of the capabilities as other voice products released from Amazon. Thanks to its companion phone app, the Dot easily integrates into your life and can even “learn” new skills to help you out. You can connect it to various accounts including your home automation products, Uber, Dominos and, of course, your Amazon account. Users must download the Alexa mobile app to set up the speaker.

The Dot is cheap enough to have one in every room, but audiophiles be warned: if you are looking for a quality music speaker, you should probably look elsewhere. The speaker quality on this device is decidedly weak.

2. Google Home Mini

If you don’t have an Amazon subscription, The Google Home Mini is a great alternative to the Echo Dot. The Mini boast the same capabilities as its Amazon competitor, but with two key differences:

1. The Google Home Mini is available in more colors and looks more stylish

2. While not ground-breaking, its sound quality is superior to the Echo Dot.     

The Home Mini is powered by the same Google Assistant powering the Google Home. This hands-free device can help you personalize your schedule, set up reminders, make calls and even connects to other Google products, like Chromecast. Users must download the Google Home mobile app to set up the device.

Price Range: $100-$200

3. Amazon Echo

The Echo is Amazon’s full-sized device and boasts the same features as its smaller sibling, the Dot. It’s a great device when you want something bigger than the Dot and want a better sound quality without breaking the bank. There is also a wider array of color options to match your décor and even an upgrade to a woodgrain texture for an extra $20. The Amazon Echo also connects to the Alexa mobile app.

4. Google Home

The Google Home hasn’t seen much of a refresh since its inception in 2016, but the Google Assistant offers a greater array of personalization. The Google Home can hold up to 6 different accounts and will give you different responses based on the person talking to the device. The home is best for giftees who enjoy having more freedom to control their device and need to be able to assist multiple family members. And yes, the Google Home app is a must for your mobile device.

Which Device is on Your Wish List?

Smart speaker products are booming and we have no doubt we’ll see more versions and new brands hit the market. The list could go on and on for these devices. Which smart speaker would you choose? 

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